I have been following the daily Bible reading plan from “Our Daily Bread” (odb.org) the last couple weeks. Today one of the chapters was Luke 11. These are the verses I highlighted and why.
“I tell you, keep asking, and it will be given you. Keep seeking and you will find. Keep knocking and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened.”
The last part of this verse could be translated “For everyone who is asking is receiving, and he who is seeking is finding, and to him who is knocking it will be opening. It would be awkward, but Jesus’ point would be made better. We have to keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. This verse is preceded by a parable about asking for help from a neighbor in the middle of the night. Jesus says that if you keep at it, the neighbor may not help you because he is a friend, but he will help because of your persistence.
Obviously, Jesus wants us to pray to God with the same kind of passion that the man in the parable was asking for bread at night. Our prayer needs to be ongoing. We need to beat on the door. James, the Lord’s brother, would remind us not only that the “fervent” prayer of a righteous man avails much, but also that the mighty Elijah was no different than us. It was his prayers and his faith that were different.
I highlighted Luke 11:9-10 for me. My prayers have plenty of room for more fervency and passion. Following Jesus is something we must do intentionally, which means I need to set fire to my prayers.
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”
This verse reminds me that I am not setting fire to my prayers because God is a reluctant giver. Jesus said that it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom (somewhere in the discussion with his disciples in John 13-17). Here he says that our Father wants to give us the Holy Spirit.
This is not just talking about our initial filling of the Spirit when we were born again. This is talking about asking for the Holy Spirit often. Ephesians 5:18 tells us to “be being filled with the Spirit.”
That is a command, so it is something we are to do. Jesus tells us here that we can do this by asking. I am always reminding people that Jesus said this about the Holy Spirit. Let’s take advantage! But remember, Peter said God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey him (Acts 5:32). This doesn’t mean we work for the Holy Spirit, but there is a beginning commitment to Jesus that we all must make. It is only to those who know him as Lord to whom he gives the Spirit. The Holy Spirit does many things for us, but his primary role is to empower us for obedience to Jesus. Even God’s Spirit won’t do this without our commitment to follow Jesus above all other authorities, including your good buddies, your girlfriends, and your family.
I have to quit with this one. I guess I won’t cover all the verses I highlighted in Luke 11.
“When the strong man, fully armed, guards his own dwelling, his goods are safe. But when someone stronger attacks him and overcomes him, he takes from him his whole armor in which he trusted, and divides his plunder.”
I highlighted this verse for theological purposes. This verse is bursting with the wine of Jesus’ teaching like an over-ripe grape.
First, note the boldness of Jesus’ words. The context is casting out demons. Jesus is calling the devil a “strong man, fully armed.” Then he implies, “But I am stronger. I am attacking him and overcoming him, and I am going to plunder him.”
To this day, people are scared of demon-possessed people. The whole town was afraid of the demoniac in the tombs that Jesus cast the legion out of (Mark 5). Jesus wasn’t afraid. Instead, the demons were afraid of him! They only had one weapon against him, and they employed it often when he came near them. Jesus did not want the people to know until the right time that he was the Messiah (Matt. 16:20), and the demons often announced it (e.g., Luke 4:41). They wanted him killed before his time. Eventually, they would get their will, but in God’s time, and they would regret it (1 Cor. 2:7-8), for it was in death that he truly pillaged the devil’s goods, taking captivity captive (Eph. 4:8), and delivering us from our fear of death.
Thus, Luke 11:21 shows us Jesus’ boldness and authority, and it prophesies of his death and resurrection. He spent his life pillaging the devil on earth, and his death defeated the devil, death, and the grave, preached to the dead (1 Pet. 4:6), and took all the strong man’s goods. So much more could be said about how much we can see the living Word of God in Jesus in this passage, the one with all authority in heaven and earth, but this is just a blog post. I need to bring it to an end now.
Great grace to all of you. Pray like Elijah and implore God for all the good things that he so longs to give to you.